Biggest pay raises over 30 years

Over the last generation, pay for some professions has risen much faster than the overall rate of inflation.

Registered nurse

fastest growing wages nurse
  • 1983 median wage: $20,592*
  • 2012 median wage: $57,044
  • Increase: 177%

Nurses benefit for the same reasons other health care professions are paying more: rising demand, a greater need for technical skills, and not enough people to do it.

But there's another reason as well: gender.

Prior to the 1980s, many women who worked outside the home pursued traditionally female career paths like nursing or teaching. That changed as the baby boom generation entered the workforce.

"There were other things these young women could do," said Peter McMenamin, the economist for the American Nurses Association. "To attract and maintain women in hospitals, they had to match salaries."

Source: CNN analysis of 45 professions in the Current Population Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Note: *Numbers are not inflation adjusted. Overall inflation from 1983-2012 was 131%
Some professions with high wage inflation, such as chief executives and personal financial advisers, were not tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1983, and are excluded from this list.

- Last updated November 08 2013 03:37 AM ET
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